Goldwater Scholarship Foundation Recognizes Two Mizzou Students

Published on April 11, 2016

University of Missouri seniors Nicholas Bira and Ethan Zars have earned honorable mention recognition from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.

“Being recognized is an affirmation that I have been doing the right activities during my time here and an encouragement to continue my work,” says Bira, a bioengineering major from Troy, Missouri. Bira is also working towards minors in computational neuroscience and math. He plans to pursue a doctorate in bionics or biomechanics and preform prosthetics research.

A native of Columbia, Missouri, Zars is majoring in chemistry with a minor in biology. Zars plans to pursue a doctorate in chemistry and hopes to conduct research on catalysis.

“It’s a great honor to receive this national level recognition, as well as the MU nomination,” Zars says. “Only four were nominated from MU this year and out of more than 1,000 applicants, only about 500 received some kind of recognition.”

The Goldwater Foundation awarded 252 scholarships for the 2016–17 academic year to undergraduate sophomores and juniors in the United States. The Goldwater Scholars are selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,150 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of 415 colleges and universities nationwide.

The Goldwater Scholarship Program honoring Senator Barry Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. Since its first award in 1989, the Foundation has bestowed 7,680 scholarships worth approximately $48 million.

“I take away from this experience a better feel for what I have accomplished in the past few years, as well as an increased capacity to convey those efforts,” Bira says.

In addition to the honorable mention selections of Bira and Zars, Zoe Lemon, a physics major at UMKC was awarded a Goldwater Scholarship. Lemon spent last summer at Mizzou, conducting undergraduate research in the physics lab of Haskell Taub.